Monday night’s game, a 3-2 Blue Jackets win over Tampa, was as entertaining a game as I have seen in a while. However, more importantly, it was two points in one of the tightest races for a playoff spot. Seemingly everyone in the Metropolitan Division is winning consistently, so there is never more than a 4 or 5 point gap between 2nd and 7th place in the division.
Ryan Johansen opened the scoring with a blast from just inside the blue line in the second period, but was countered by two quick Tampa Bay goals. Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman converted their opportunities, and the Bolts took the lead into the 3rd period. But just 3:09 into the 3rd, Nathan Horton scored his 200th career goal–his second in a Blue Jackets uniform– to tie the game up at 2. Most of the rest of the third was battled out by the two teams, but the Jackets had one more up their sleeves.
Jack Johnson fired a wrist shot from the point on a late powerplay, and from the side of the net, Mark Letestu managed to deflect it down to put CBJ ahead by one. The next two minutes were intense, but the Jackets held on to beat the Bolts in regulation.
As far as the magnitude of this game goes, it’s a big one. First of all, for Nathan Horton to score such a big goal for his 200th is a huge confidence booster, which only promises good things. Second, it was Jack Johnson‘s birthday. And while he won’t get credit for the go-ahead goal, he was the biggest part of the play. Said Johnson after the game, “It felt great to get a comeback win on my birthday. I can rest easier tonight.”
As a team, this win is quite a momentum builder. It’s the 4th straight win for the boys, and it’s a comeback win over a definite playoff contender in the Lightning. I’ve got a feeling the boys will keep rolling and get a few more wins on this streak, thanks to the confidence gained in this win.